Movie review: "The September Issue"

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

It's being marketed as a real-life Devil Wears Prada, an inside look at Vogue editrix Anna Wintour bossing her staff around as they put together their fall-fashion issue for 2007, always the thickest one of the year. And for the first 15 minutes, that's what The September Issue is.

But then we're introduced to Grace Coddington, Vogue's longtime creative director. Filmmaker R.J. Cutler (The War Room) is transfixed by this curmudgeonly genius, and viewers will be too.

Coddington certainly doesn't look like your typical magazine editor. She was a stunning beauty back in her twenties, when she broke into the magazine industry as a model.

Then a car crash disfigured her face, ending her modeling career, and these days she forgoes makeup, walks around in baggy black clothes, and lets her unruly red hair flow freely - in stark contrast to Wintour's tailored clothes and perfectly shaped bob.

But she's a great editor, largely because she's still fascinated by the beauty and romance of the fashion world.

And she makes a great movie character because of her dogged determination to keep up the page counts in her sumptuous high-art fashion spreads - constantly losing ground to the celebrity style content Wintour favors (and, let's be honest, sells magazines) - and her willingness to stand up to Wintour when no one else dares.

The movie quickly becomes less a story about how Wintour is the most influential woman in fashion, and more about how Coddington is the most influential woman at Vogue.

"The September Issue"

Opens Friday at Landmark's Gateway Theater

Grade: B+